Sunday, March 8, 2009

Easy as bean soup

This soup is a favorite in my house. It's a bit like the Campbell's bean with bacon soup. I use a one gallon crock pot, start the soup before bed, and it's ready by lunchtime the following day. I don't soak or boil the beans, just rinse and add them to the pot.

NOTE: Do NOT try this with kidney beans!! Please read here about kidney beans.

  • Canned tomatoes (I use one quart of home canned tomatoes)
  • 2-4 cups of dried NORTHERN and/or PINTO beans (use the lesser amount if you prefer your soup extra soupy, the greater amount if you prefer it beany; we prefer beany)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes (these are all to taste, but I recommend at least one Tbs of chili powder to start with.)
  • Rinse beans
  • Add all ingredients to crock pot
  • Add water till crock pot is full
  • Cover, cook on HIGH at least 12 hours or until beans are very tender (this is what it takes in my crock pot, but if you have a newer one it may work faster)
  • I usually add more water to this after several hours as the beans soak it up.

I always make a fresh batch of homemade bread to go with the soup. Recipe is here. To make the herb bread pictured here, just mix 1/4 cup olive oil with the herbs of your choice. I used about a tsp of rosemary and a tsp of basil, plus a dash of onion powder. When you have the bread dough ready for the second rising, just brush this on and sprinkle with a dash of kosher salt. Let rise and bake.

This is a very frugal meal. I can't remember exactly how much I paid for the dried beans. It was $1.29 or $1.79, so I'll round it to $2.00 for all of the soup ingredients. It would cost a bit more if I had to buy canned tomatoes, but the point of growing our own is to save money and have better quality. I know I could do this even cheaper if I grew and dried the beans, but we are all HUGE green bean fans, so none of the beans we grow last long enough to be dried.

With a one gallon pot, you get 16 8oz servings of soup. That's about 13 cents per serving. The bread costs about 89 cents for two loaves (one batch of dough). Two loaves easily divide into 16 servings, which brings the total cost of soup and bread to about 19 cents per serving.

A meal for less than 20 cents per serving? Frugal!! Woot!

Before you even ask, I don't add in the cost of electricity to cook the meal. No matter what we eat, I'd most likely have to cook it, so it's the ingredients that really add up. I do plan to try making this on the wood stove in a cast iron pot, but not as an overnight thing.

No comments: